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Review: A Once Upon a Time Tale – Reawakened / Author: Odette Beane / Publisher: Titan / Release Date: Out Now

A question to all you fairy tale fans – what came first, the pumpkin or the glass coach?

Reawakened is loosely based on Season 1 of the hugely successful American fairy tale television drama show Once Upon a Time. The ABC show, which first aired in 2011, is now into its third season in conjunction with its spin-off show, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Therefore, in some ways it is difficult to review this book purely on its own merits.

For those not in the know, both the novel and the television show tell the tale of Emma Swan, a beautiful blonde bail bond agent. Emma (unbeknownst to her at the onset of this contemporary fairy tale) is caught between two worlds – modern day American and the world she was born into, which was populated by well known fairy tale characters.

On the eve of her 28th birthday, Emma’s life is transformed by the unexpected arrival at her apartment of the child she gave up for adoption ten years ago, Henry. Henry persuades Emma to drive him back to his adopted mother’s home in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke. On the journey there, Henry begins to confide to Emma that all is not what it seems in Storybrooke. He alleges that the townsfolk are fairy tale characters trapped in present day America who have no memory of their true identifies. Henry claims that only Emma can break the evil curse which has beset the residents of Storybrooke. Should Emma believe her son Henry or ignore his plea for help?

Reawakened is a novel with a significant female bias. Emma (who is alleged to be the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming), Regina (the evil Queen) and Mary-Margaret (Snow White) to name but three. It uses a primary storyline (Emma’s world) and a secondary storyline which tells the tale of the past events in the lives of key characters prior to the evil Queen’s curse. It thus weaves a somewhat complex tale of past and present. The reader (through Emma’s gradual encounters with residents of Storybrooke) is required to piece together who is who in relation to the fairy tale characters.

Where the novel is lacking is in the sort of detail that will help you to visualise the characters and settings. However, the complexity of the storylines is enjoyable, and if you're intrigued by the TV show but missed season one, then this novel would definitely serve as a decent introduction.

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